Remembering Greg Greenday: ‘He was just good people’

Former West Chester East football coach Joe Carroll first met Greg Greenday when the two were attending St. James High School in Chester in the mid-1960s.

They’ve been good friends ever since. With Carroll getting into coaching and Greenday choosing sports journalism, their professional paths crossed often, but it wasn’t enough. So they got together to play golf a couple of times a year. And they would meet to tell stories over a meal and a few beers.

When Greenday was named the sports editor of the Daily Local News in 2007, the two friends once again found another common endeavor: The Valor Bowl, Chester County’s annual charity high school all-star football game to benefit Special Olympics. Carroll and his former assistant, Scott Allison, started the game in 1999, and Greenday helped it flourish in the last three plus years.

A lot of people, stretching from his native Delaware County to Chester County and beyond, knew Greenday, who died Saturday. But very few knew him for as long as Carroll.

“We were real good friends,” said Carroll, who also coached at Chester High School. “I remember the back-and-forth trade of sarcastic humor. He had a big heart. He loved St. James, he loved North Carolina, where his older brother (Mike) played. He loved his family, his couple of kids. He was just a great guy, a lot of fun to be around. I have a lot of good memories.”

Carroll’s fond memories of Greenday, 61, date back more than four decades, but they aren’t unique. Former Widener and current West Chester University head football coach Bill Zwaan first met Greenday a quarter century ago when Zwaan was coaching football at Monsignor Bonner and Greenday was a sports writer at the Daily Times.

“When I think about Greg, I keep coming back to the fact that Greg looked for the good way to write a story,” Zwaan said. “He wasn’t looking for negatives, but the positive side of a story. I thought he approached it the right way.

“When I was at Bonner in the early ’80s, Greg was covering the high schools back then and everybody knew him. And then I really got to know him when I was at Widener. And I was thrilled when he came to the Daily Local. It was like being reunited with an old buddy.”

Zwaan wasn’t alone in that. Carroll said he couldn’t recall Greenday ever writing anything negative, and former West Chester University basketball coach Dick Delaney said Greenday was an empathetic reporter.

“I’ve known Greg for most of my professional life,” Delaney said. “Greg was a real good guy and he had great insight into dealing with coaches after losses and wins. You felt like when he talked to you, he was celebrating with you after a big win or agonizing with you after a tough loss. I thought he had a great feel for the coaching profession”

When Greenday arrived at the Daily Local News there was not yet a Chester County Sports Hall of Fame. Before long, there was, and Greenday was an integral part of getting that up and going, starting the inaugural class of 2008.

“Greg was one of the intricate and extremely valuable parts of establishing the Chester County Hall of Fame,” said former West Chester mayor and former WCU athletic director Dick Yoder. “He was extremely enthusiastic about establishing such a group. He worked so hard to make it work. Without Greg, we wouldn’t have gotten to first base.

“We’ll really miss him. He was a really creative mind in terms of sports information and how to get it out there. The Chester County Hall of Fame will forever be indebted to Greg for his initiative and enthusiasm.”

For Greenday, there were any number of things to be enthusiastic about, and many of them revolved around kids. He was involved with the Sunshine Foundation, an organization that granted wishes to sick children.

“The kids, whether it be high school or the Special Olympians, that was his No. 1 concern,” Allison said. “Since he took over, he did such a great job promoting high school kids and the Valor Bowl cause. He was awesome. He will be greatly missed.”

Greenday had a gusto for many things. Carroll said he remembered Greenday talking about a trip to the Masters when he worked at the Daily Times.

“He would let me know the greatest part of being down there was he was up at five o’clock watching the sun rise over the 13th hole down there,” he said. “I’m gonna miss him, gonna miss his stories. He was just good people.”

And a good writer.

“He was a cornerstone to the Delaware County Times for years,” Delaney said. “It was like you had breakfast with him every morning.”

Zwaan summed it up best: “He always had a smile. I just really liked Greg Greenday. It’s a sad day for local sports.”

Obit credit to Dave Burman